Thursday, March 3, 2011


Imagine, for one scary moment, that a tout was elected into parliament. Alexander Nderitu explored the possibility.


Can any two categories of people be as far removed from each other as touts and the Honourable Members of Parliament? The mention of the word ‘tout’ conjures up images of a sheng-speaking, rude-mouthed, door-swinging ruffian who only just managed to escape being a thug. In contrast, the mention of ‘MP’ conjures up images of a distinguished-looking, pot-bellied, middle aged man (women are hopelessly outnumbered) in a dark business suit, driving a luxury car.
So let’s flip the script. Let’s throw a spanner in the works. Let’s take a konkodi from the mean streets of Nairobi, make him the Minister for Roads, and see how he handles himself in the unfamiliar environs of the National Assembly, where the manicured lawns are as level as ponds, the library-like silence is attributable to a lack of quorum (or mass slumber) and any jovial foot-thumping may readily be identified as the celebration following an announcement that MP’s pay perks will be hiked once again….
Leader of Official Opposition: There have been numerous complaints by road users
on the slow progress of the Mbagathi Way upgrade. Could the new Roads
Minister comment on the matter.
Konkodi: Ata ni vizuri umetaja hiyo rodi ju hapo kuna issue moja Biggie kama
Notorious. Maze, hao wathii walitengeneza rodi poa ya tarmac alafu sasa wanaweka simiti juu yake. Kwani ni keja ndiyo waweke simiti?
Female MP: Mr Speaker, could you direct the new Member to comunicate in English
which happens to be the country’s Official Language? I have no idea what he
just said!
Konkodi: Ati nibonge kingoso? Kwani mimi ni mlami? Na nyinyi mamasa sa
zingeni mnapenda kujifanja mababi!
An MP who is also a Lawyer: I agree with the Lady MP. I think this fellow has no
grasp of House rules. He is still wearing a conductor’s uniform!
Konkodi: Nawakilisha ma-boyz wangu. Noma iko wapi?
Hon. MPs: Shame! Shame!
Mr. Speaker: Order, members! I assure you that the new Member will be informed of
the rules in due time. This is his parliamentary debut.
Leader of Official Opposition: Be that as it may, I think the Minister for Roads agreed with me that the on-going construction of Mbagathi Way is controversial to say the least. Despite being only three kilometers long, it has been under construction for a year and it is not even halfway through. On top of that, the amount of money involved is scandalous. I think this is yet another White Elephant project by the government!
Opposition Mps: Hear! Hear! Scandal! Anglo-leasing! etc
Mr. Speaker: Order! O-order!
Lawyer MP: I think that the leader of Official Opposition is using the Mbagathi Way
issue to slander the government in advance of the General Elections. The reason why the construction of the road is taking so long is that a tarmac foundation had to be laid before the concrete surface could be laid. The reason for the expense is obvious – building concrete structures is never cheap.
Leader of Official Opposition: Those millions could have been better spent. There
are starving Kenyans in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country.
Lawyer MP: Concrete roads last much longer that tarmac. We’re actually saving
money on re-carpeting and repairs.
Leader of Official Opposition: Mr. Speaker, I am pointing out the government’s
warped priorities when it comes to public spending.
Konkodi: Tuliza boli, bro, uwanja mdogo. Ata mimi siungi gava mkono kwa swala
hili. Lakini ju wameshajenga nusu, hakuna haja ya kupiga hii project ngeta sasa. Afadhali tuvute pumz. Wakishaa murder, tutaenda tusorore hiyo something. Labda itakua rodi ingine ya power.
Lawyer MP: I move that we declare this fellow to be under McNaughton Rules – he is
insane and should therefore not be taken seriously!
Konkodi: Unaita nani mwenda? Tusizoeane kama suruali ya ndani! Sisi makonkodi
hatucheki na watu!
Lawyer MP: Are you threatening me?
Konkodi: Nikishika nare, mimi ni mnoma! Conje huniona anatoroka masaa!
Lawyer MP: Mr. Speaker, will you allow this character to issue thinly veiled threats
right from the floor of the House or will you have him escorted out with a stern warning?
Mr. Speaker: The Standing Orders call for free speech inside the House but I will not
tolerate any more unwarranted attacks from either side!
Konkodi: Huyu mbuyu anajifanya obohoo lakini hanitishi! Achunge sana
tusikutane kwa rodi!
Hon. Members: Shame! Resign! Step down! etc
Security Minister: When you rattle a snake, you must be ready to be bitten by it!
Mr. Speaker: Order! Order!
Konkodi: Mo fire! Mo fire!
Mr. Speaker: I am getting tired of babysitting adults. It looks like these days,
adulthood is a moving target!
Hon. Members: You’re too old! Resign! Retire! You have rattled a snake! Mo fire! etc

Next month: A tout wins the 2007 Presidential race. You don’t want to speech! Until then, here’s a piece of advice to drivers to live by: ‘ALWAYS DRIVE SUCH THAT YOUR LICENCE WILL EXPIRE BEFORE YOU DO.’

Originally published in 2007

Copyright (c) 2007 Alex N Nderitu

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